Plant your pumpkin seeds 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep for the best results. You will need to create mounds of dirt every 2–6 feet (60–180 cm) in rows spaced 15 feet (4.5 meters) apart. Then, plant 5 seeds in each mound and water until the seedlings sprout. Thin the plants down 2–3 in each spot and let them grow. Planting pumpkin seeds too deeply prevents them from germinating. Seeds planted too close to the surface will dry out before they can sprout. You cannot just put pumpkin seeds on the ground. Always sow your pumpkin seeds beneath the surface of the soil.
7 Steps to Plant Pumpkin Seeds at the Correct Depth
In order to grow a thriving pumpkin plant, it’s essential to follow the correct process. By planting according to our easy guide, you’ll have a thriving pumpkin patch by autumn. Follow these steps if you’re planning to plant your pumpkins in raised beds.
Select Your Pumpkin Seeds
Select the right pumpkin seeds for your garden. Fast-growing Cinderella Pumpkins are perfect for locations with a short growing season. Slow-growing varieties (like Jarrahdale Pumpkins) can be grown in areas where the danger of frost is low. Also, consider how you’d like to use your pumpkins. Some pumpkins—such as the Autumn Gold variety—work best for jack o’ lanterns. Other varieties—like Sugar Pumpkins—make fantastic pies.
Prepare Your Garden Beds
Prepare your garden beds by filling them with rich, well-draining soil. Use a homemade mix of sphagnum peat moss, builder sand, aged manure, and garden soil. Pumpkins need 24–36 inches (60–90 cm) of soil for their deep root system. The top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil should be well aerated to allow the roots to establish themselves.
Create Rows 6 to 15 Feet Apart
Space your pumpkin rows 6–15 feet apart (2–4.5 meters). The exact spacing depends on your selected pumpkin variety. Miniature pumpkins can grow in rows spaced 6–8 feet apart (2–2.5 meters). Giant pumpkins need the full 15 feet (4.5 meters) of space.
Build Mounds Along the Rows
Build mounds every 2–6 feet (60–180 cm) along each row. The spacing for the mounds also depends on the pumpkin variety. Large varieties, like Atlantic Giant pumpkins, need more space. Mini pumpkins, like the Baby Boo variety, only need a couple of feet of space. The mounds should be 6–8 inches tall (15–20 cm). Creating mounds will keep the seeds warm and moist but not waterlogged.
Plant Five Seeds Per Mound
Plant 5 pumpkin seeds in each mound. Space out the seeds evenly. Push the seeds 1 inch (2.5 cm) below the surface. Then, cover the top of the seeds with soil. Gently water the newly planted seeds without disturbing the mound of dirt.
Water Daily Until Plants Sprout
Water your pumpkin seeds daily until the sprouts break the surface. The mounded dirt will dry out faster than the surrounding soil. So, check them often. You cannot let the soil dry out even for one day. Seedlings quickly die if the soil dries out before they can create a robust root system.
Thin Out Your Seedlings
Thin out the seedlings to 2 to 3 per mound of dirt. Wait until the seedlings reach 2 inches (5 cm) tall to start thinning. Then, remove the seedlings that do not look as big and healthy as the others. By choosing the strongest seedlings, you’ll grow the healthiest crop of plants and get the largest pumpkin harvest possible.
Your established plants will grow to maturity in about 100 days. Keep watering them often enough to keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. Wait until the pumpkins fully ripen on the vine, and then pick them in fall.
Can You Plant Pumpkin Seeds Too Deep?
If you’re not careful, you can hinder pumpkin development by planting the seeds too deeply. Pumpkin seeds thrive when planted 1 inch deep (2.5 cm). Planting the seeds deeper often results in poor germination rates. The seeds need warmth from the sun to properly sprout.
- It’s possible to plant pumpkin seeds too deep.
- Aim for a planting depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm).
- Deeply planted seeds often have poor germination rates and slow growth
- Slow-growing pumpkin plants from deep seeds may not produce ripe pumpkins before frost kills the plants.
Stunted growth is common in any deeply planted seedlings that do sprout. The seedlings expend too much energy working through the soil. This can extend their growing season considerably. If you plant your pumpkin seeds too deep, you might not get a harvest before the first frost.
What Happens if You Don’t Plant Pumpkin Seeds Deep Enough?
Pumpkin seeds won’t germinate if you don’t plant them deeply enough. Seedlings too close to the surface tend to dry out fast. Birds or other wildlife might eat the exposed seeds as well.
- Pumpkin seeds will not germinate if they’re not planted deep enough.
- The shallowly planted seedlings dry out fast and get eaten by wildlife.
- Seeds need consistent moisture to fully break down the seed coat.
- The moisture helps keep the seeds nourished as they sprout.
- Seedlings will die if allowed to dry out fully before their roots develop.
Consistent moisture is essential for breaking down the hard seed coat on pumpkin seeds. The moisture also keeps the seeds nourished as they sprout and grow roots. So, shallowly planted pumpkin seeds will dry out, fail to sprout, or die shortly after they attempt to grow.
Can You Plant Pumpkin Seeds Straight on the Ground?
You cannot plant pumpkin seeds straight on the ground. Always sow the pumpkin seeds into the soil at a 1-inch (2.5 cm) depth. Seeds left on the surface will dry out immediately. They will also get eaten by birds and other wildlife.
- Do not plant pumpkin seeds straight on the ground.
- Sow your seeds into the soil at a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm).
- Seeds left on the surface will dry out or get eaten.
- Create mounds of dirt for your seeds to get the best results.
- The mounds help the seeds stay at the right temperature and moisture level.
For best results, create mounds of dirt for your seeds. The mounds keep the seeds warm and at the perfect moisture level. Build your mounds 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) tall for the best results cultivating your homegrown pumpkin plant.
How Deep Should You Bury Pumpkin Seeds?
When planting pumpkin seeds, follow these steps:
- Plant your pumpkin seeds 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep in high-quality soil.
- Create rows for your pumpkins 6–15 feet (2–4.5 meters) apart.
- Create mounds of dirt every 2–6 feet (60–180 cm) along the rows.
- Plant 5 pumpkin seeds in every mound and water daily.
- Thin your pumpkin seedlings down to 3 per mound.
By taking this approach, you’ll have mature pumpkins in around 100 days. You can then let them ripen on the vine, then harvest them in fall. Depending on what pumpkin varieties you’re growing you can have decorative pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, or the makings of your own homemade pumpkin pie.